When despair for the world grows in me…

The title of this blog is the first line from a Wendell Berry poem.  He is without question one of my favorite modern poets. I chose this stanza because caregiving has it share of despair as events and outcomes do what they have to do to the ones we love.

And like Wendell, we too startle awake “in the night” in a dense panic about how things will turn out.  The poet, rightly so, suggests we take our despair outside and just for a moment release the suffocating matrix of our compressed lives and be like still water, calm and thankful for a the next deep breath, the kindness of others that arrives in the nick of time and this oh so contorted love-laced journey we have with out parents, siblings and all the other cast members of our drama, and let the whole lot of them rest  right where Wendell says they are, “in the grace of the world.”


When despair for the world grows in me

And I wake in the night at the least sound

In fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be.

I go and lie down where the wood drake

Rests in his beauty on the water, the great heron feeds

I come into the peace of wild things

Who do not tax their lives with forethought 

Of grief.  I come into the presence of still water

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

Waiting their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Wendell Berry

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